JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — The 17-year-old accused of killing 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway appeared in court Tuesday and found out he will be charged as an adult.
Police say Austin Sigg turned himself in and confessed to murder two weeks after parts of Ridgeway’s body were discovered in an Arvada open space on Oct. 10. He faces 17 charges, including murder and sexual assault.
Some legal analysts say that charging Sigg as an adult will not necessarily ensure he receives a life sentence. Attorney David Beller said Sigg could still be eligible for parole in 40 years.
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“Regardless of how he’s charged, he’s a juvenile,” Beller said. “Because he is a juvenile, his brain is presumed to work differently and that’s why the law treats him differently.”
The next step in the legal process for Sigg will be determining where he will be held.
Originally, prosecutors suspected he would be transferred from his current holding area, the Mount View Youth Service Center in Lakewood, to the Jefferson County Jail if the decision was made to try him as an adult.